Essential Sports Nutrition


Motivation - use it or lose it

We are nearing week three of January which means that all your new changes for 2014 will become new habits soon.

It doesn't matter if it is January, May or your birthday. Good habits require discipline, motivation, the right resources and hard work, on a daily basis. More so, change requires the ability to overcome obstacles and setbacks along the journey.

 If you have goals for yourself in 2014, motivation is something that you want on a daily basis. You have to have it to get you out of bed, you have to have it when the going gets tough and you have to have it when things don't go as planned.

But let's be honest that motivation is not something you can find every morning when you get out of bed especially when life gets in the way of your body composition, performance, career or health goals.

Because goals require more than consistent commitment, here are a few tips to keep your motivation going all year long.

1)) Accept that it's OK to not be motivated 24/7. By accepting uncontrollable circumstances in life that may affect your motivation, you will become more body and mind aware of what's within your control, instead of feeling frustrated or defeated.

2) Write down your goals and then visualize yourself accomplishing the goal before you go to bed every evening. After you visualize a stellar race performance, a change in body composition, a career change or a life-long trip, you can also visualize yourself working hard to reach your goal and how great it feels to put in the work.

3) Write down why you want to accomplish your goal. Because we know goals require hard work (if they didn't, you probably would have already accomplished that goal in the past without trying), you have to dedicate all your energy to that goal - when it counts. By having your goal on your mind, you will be mentally connected to your goal which will help you maintain motivation when times get tough. And when all else fails, go back to visualizing your goal when it is succeeded.

4) Be patient. Don't expect results or changes overnight. Have a step-by-step process on how you will reach your goal so that your motivation remains high as you adapt, physically and mentally to the journey of reaching your goal.

5) Be realistic. Many people lose motivation because a goal is not doable at this time in your life. That doesn't mean that it can't be accomplished a few weeks or months later or that moving closer to that goal will benefit you more than thinking it's not "the right time." Focus on yourself and your own goals and many times that will allow you to remove the outside pressure from comparing yourself to others. Sometimes you have to step outside of the bubble of people that think, act and live like you (or how you think you want to think, act and live) and re-evaluate your goals at this time. Perhaps now is not the time to train for an IM, you don't have to have the same body image as others and if you are just starting a new career or small business, do not compare the success of others with yourself right now.

6) Use your resources. Hire a coach, a dietitian, a sport psychologist. Talk with your family, your boss/co-workers. You are not expected to reach your goal on your own and motivation can be given by others - you don't have to find it yourself every single day. Don't overwhelm yourself with feeling stuck with your current skillset - invest in a team that can help you move closer to your goals.

7) Stay structured but flexible. Anytime you regret doing or not doing something, learn from it. Don't just tell yourself that you have failed and all is lost or ruined. As long as you don't give up, you can always move closer to your goals. Have a realistic plan but be flexible. Remember that you don't have to change the goal but sometimes you have to change the plan.

8) Learn from others. Do you know someone else who has experienced a setback similar to your own? How did she/he overcome that obstacle? Do you know someone who you can learn from or perhaps is experiencing something worse than you and you just need their positive energy and thoughts. There's nothing wrong with feeling defeated or without motivation but in today's society, instant motivation is at the reach of your computer or iphone - use them wisely.

9) Re-evaluate your goals every 4-6 weeks. Because it does take time to make changes and to adapt to change, you may find that your initial goal is not the goal you had in mind. This isn't saying that you aren't able to commit to the goal or that you are weak or failing but priorities change in life. Sometimes a goal can require extreme measures once you actually put in the work and when you consider the bigger picture, that initial goal isn't worth the stress, commitment and often, isolation from friends/family. Balance is important when you have a goal and your hard work toward your goal should benefit your quality of life as well.

10) Take breaks. It's unrealistic to commit to the same style of eating, training or living for 365 days. If you have ever taken an extra day off from work "just because", enjoyed a 3 day weekend for a quick vacation or spent a week with your family in a new location, you know how great it can feel mentally and physically check-out from the normal routine for a short period of time. If you feel controlled by structure, learn to enjoy a little break every now and then to re-charge yourself and to keep yourself motivated to work hard for your ultimate goal.


Trimarni Endurance Triathlon Training Camp!!!

Who didn't love camp growing up? 

Hanging out, meeting new people, changing up the normal routine (no parents!), enjoying food with friends and making a lot of memories to share with others when you returned home. 

When Karel and I discussed having a training camp, we both had two different ideas for our camp but with the same philosophy. 


We repeatedly stress the importance of training smart in our training philosophy and we also abide by this thought as well.

Not only do we focus on quality training and removing the junk miles but we also do a lot of research, learn from great coaches and we believe in placing the least amount of stress on the body with the most physiological performance gains. 

There are so many ways that an athlete can train smart and we focus on those other areas to help take structured training to the next level. 
-Stress management
-Good sleep
-Mental skills/confidence
-Good form/drills/skills
-Immune system health
-Sport nutrition
-Daily nutrition
-Flexibility in a structured schedule
-Get stronger before getting faster before going longer
-Season planning (annual training plan)
-Strength training
-Proper use of gadgets
-Quality equipment
-Periodized training 

Those are just a few of the many ways an athlete can train smart alongside following a balanced training plan that is focused on individual goals. 

So when I brainstormed about having a camp, I was really excited about helping others learn how to train smart and to discuss in detail, the many ways an athlete can train smart to train hard and then to recover harder. 
I was also excited about the hands on opportunity to be with athletes and to watch them use their body for swim, bike, run. Beyond analyzing every movement, I also wanted to talk about skills, form and drills. I also wanted to focus heavily on education (of course, my favorite - sport and daily nutrition). I wanted my campers to leave the camp with a new toolset of knowledge that allows for smarter training (and a more balanced lifestyle all together). If anything, clear up any confusion on how to train for endurance races because there is a lot of confusion when it comes to the smartest  and healthiest way. 
Lastly, I wanted my athletes to enjoy camp. To have as much fun as I do when I balance training with my everyday life (like so many others do) but without the responsibilities of "life". Just four days to train like a pro and be surrounded with like-minded individuals, great food and positive energy. 

Karel was on board with all my ideas but he also wanted to make sure athletes left the camp with four days of quality workouts that would boost fitness, motivation and confidence with swim, bike, run in the endurance triathlon distance. 

And together - we created our ideal itinerary for our training camp. 

Our camp is not for us. Our camp is for our campers. 

Karel and I are lucky that we both live the same lifestyle, we each have knowledge when it comes to specific areas  and can pick up and go and train wherever and whenever anytime (so long as Campy gives us the day off from work, which rarely happens). We both agreed that this camp was not about us training for 4 days with 15 athletes but instead, our 15 campers training for 4 days with us to give guidance, support, education and enthusiasm.  

So, after much planning, discussion, communication......

I proudly announce the first ever (but not last) Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition Endurance Triathlon Training Camp.


Reserve your spot before the camp fills up!

Learn more here:

(any questions, send me an email -

See you at Camp!
Your coaches, Marni and Karel Sumbal


Leg burning trainer workout and fueling the triathlete

Trimarni lifestyle change tip: 
If you have between 10-30 min when you come home from work before an evening workout or meeting/event, start your dinner prep and finish as much as possible so you don't come home starving and convince yourself that you can't wait the time to cook a real food, balanced meal. 

Here's a creation that I prepared in 25 minutes before our evening swim practice on 1/15 (I planned for leftovers):
Tempeh, mushrooms, frozen veggie mix (corn, peas, carrots), onions, garlic, balsamic, olive oil, kale, turmeric, pinch of salt, chili pepper, slivered almonds. Also, 1 pot of quinoa (1/2 cup dry to 1 cup boiling water). 

The final creation!

Swim workout Main set (at the very end of our 75 minute practice):
3xs (with fins):
3x100s fast swim on 1:30
3x50s fast kick on 1 minute
Continue 2 more rounds.
Total yards: 3800

After my morning fuel (8 ounce skim milk + 1 spoonful chia seeds + 1/2 cup cheerios - a new creation I have been using for the past few weeks which seems to be working really well for energy and recovery. I tweak for longer workouts over 90 minutes. + water and cup of coffee.) and dynamic stretching/foam rolling, it was time to break a sweat....and wow o wow, did I ever!

Thanks Karel for the leg burning workout!

Our Bike Trainer: 
CycleOps PowerBeam Pro - I will let DC Rainmaker give the details about this awesome trainer with specific wattage resistance control.  

WU (warm-up): 30 min, including 10 min of one leg drills to wake up my glute medius
Main set:
5 x 30 sec ON/OFF @ Z4 watts  (cadence 90+ rpm)
2 min EZ spin
5 x 1 min ON/OFF @ Z4 watts (cadence 90+ rpm)
2 min EZ spin
5 x 90 sec ON/OFF @ Z4 watts  (cadence 90+ rpm)
5 min EZ spin 
5 x 2 min ON/OFF @ Z3 mid to upper watts (cadence 90+ rpm)
Rest of the ride is just EZ spin.

This was one challenging set - the intervals are short but you really have to stay focused for each interval during that time. Because I can adjust my watts on the trainer, I use the resistance control to put in the watts I want to hold as a minimum and then I am forced to hold those watts for each part of the set. No cheating on the trainer when you train with power.
This is also a great set to use RPE if you do not have a power meter. HR training will not be a valuable tool in this set because the HR will not rise to specific zones in that short of time with the recommended effort. Focus on a high cadence but strong pedal stroke and you will gain a lot from this workout. 
If you can't get through the entire set due to fatigue, that is OK. The goal is not to nail every workout but to give your best effort and get excited for the next go around.
I recommend 20-25g carbohydrate sport drink during this workout w/ electrolytes + additional water as needed.

After this workout I did a short brick run (3.77 miles):
10 min warm-up run
Main set: 
5 x 2 min @ 7:30 min/mile w/ 1 min walk in between
Cool down

Post workout I had 1/2 cup greek yogurt + cherries, apples and banana slices on top + 1 slice bakery bread (nuts, raisins inside) + Smucker natural PB (A good smear) + water and coffee. 


Swim smart - tips for all levels of triathletes

When it comes to the swim training needed for a triathlon, there are those who love the water and are natural (or competitive) swimmers, those who are determined to become better swimmers and those who feel robotic and inefficient while swimming. Perhaps you've heard yourself or a triathlete say "I wish I could feel smoother in the water."

It's really beautiful to watch a swimmer swim. Smooth kicking, effortless arms and very few strokes to move from one side of the pool to the other. 

Swimming is all around a great sport but also a great way to improve fitness. It taxes all systems from cardio, respiratory to muscular and it also helps provide stress to the body without impact which transfers to run and bike fitness as well. 

That is - so long as you are not too exhausted from swimming that you can not maintain good energy during your run and bike workouts. 

There are a few pointers when it comes to training for a triathlon in the pool: 

1) You want to feel comfortable in the water
2) Form before speed
3) Strength training/dry land can improve imbalances in the body and also help with stronger upper body muscles
4) An efficient swimmer will perform better in all legs of a triathlon than a "fast" swimmer who expends too much energy during the swim portion. 
5) Swimming endurance will pay off more than swimming fast. However, before you go longer, form first, then incorporate that good form into short speed sessions to raise your threshold. 
6) You should actively warm-up your muscles before you swim and then do a warm-up (time-based warm-up can be more beneficial than yards for newer swimmers). 
7) Learn how to pace yourself in the water, especially when it comes to faster sets. 
8) Swimming makes for great active recovery - not every swim has to have a workout. 
9) When you train in the pool, your workout should have a purpose and a main set is often needed for more structured (and smart) training. 
10) Do technique work and drills!!
11) Use your tools - fins, paddles, buoys
12) Work with a swim coach that can help you with your stroke. 
13) Many athletes will benefit from a sport drink w/ carbohydrates and electrolytes during swimming to prevent overeating after workouts (feeling ravenous) as well as helping the athlete keep good form and to postpone fatigue.
14) Don't compare your endurance pace with "fast" pace and expect to swim the same time for a 100 compared to a 500 or 1000. Unless you run the same pace for a 5K as you do for a half marathon, appreciate going fast in short distance and steady in longer distance. 
15) REST between intervals!! If you want to get faster you will benefit from intervals with adequate rest to keep good form. Your threshold will improve even with 20-60 sec between intervals if that is what you need to be consistent at the beginning phases of training. 
16) There will be a time to go longer. Do not expect to swim 20 x 100's at goal olympic pace or 6 x 500's at goal IM pace in the first 4 weeks of swim training. Get faster (with good form) before you go longer. 

I have been swimming competitively since I was around 11 or 12 years old. I have loved the water ever since my first practice. I think I was a fish in my past life. 

My specialty races were:
200 butterfly (best time 2:19)
100 breast stroke (best time 1:09)
200 IM (best time 2:22)

I find it funny that I never enjoyed long distance swimming and always hated the 1 mile open water swim "race" we would do during our winter "hell week" training at FAU during college. Now seven Ironmans later, I call myself a distance swimmer. 

I really enjoyed every practice during my 20+ years of swim practices and had my share of back issues (and still do, now moved to my hips). But looking back, I can quickly acknowledge that I was very overtrained as a swimmer who did more than needed to improve. There was a lot of emphasis on yards with swimming 9 days a week and most workouts around 7000 yards in the evening (after 30 min of dry land). 

When you swim competitively (or do any sport) in school, it's hard to draw the line as to what is too much or not enough, especially if you are participating in a team sport with a few coaches leading the group. 

Now as a triathlete, I do not have to swim 9 times a week but instead, give myself workouts in the pool that allow me to be a better all around endurance triathlete. 

Recently I joined the Golden Group UNF masters swim with coach Erin for evening swims on MWF from 5:45pm - 7:15pm. I thought I had enough of my evening swims after a decade + of swimming in the afternoon every day, but being able to share this time with Karel gave me instant motivation to join his group. 

The group is small (about 6-8 of us) and the workouts are very focused on form. Karel has been part of this group since December and in two months, he has improved so much that it is almost unbelievable to think of where he was when he started to swim in June 2012 to where he is today. I'm talking a difference of barely breaking 1:30 for "fast" (which is still great for a new swimmer) and running out of oxygen and thus would need at least 30-60 sec rest to repeat that effort (but it didn't last long until his form suffered too much that he couldn't continue repeating those) to be able to swim 1:13!!!

Whereas my body performs a lot different than Karel's in the water due to many years of swimming, Karel is not only enjoying swimming more than ever but also not have shoulder problems any more and I am not having my upper back issues anymore. 

No matter what type of swimmer you are (experienced or novice or in between), part of the TRIMARNI TRAIN SMART approach is to focus on form.....all the time! NO workout should be at the expense of poor form.

When Karel started swimming with the Golden Group, the max yards was around 2000 (maybe 2500). Obviously Karel and the other swimmers could swim more but there was so much attention needed for better strokes that the extra yards were not worth the extra waste of energy. Now the swims are around 3000-3500 but in the past 6 months Karel has not swam over 4000 yards yet his speed and endurance are improving significantly. It's like free speed when you improve your form!

After weeks of form focused sets with fins (which has helped Karel a lot and I just recently purchased a pair and I have found a noticeably difference in my ability to focus more on my stroke with drill sets as most of our drills sets are with fins), the group as a whole (which is of mixed levels) have all improved their strokes and thus times as well......without swimming longer or harder!

After a few swims with the team, I have noticed that a lot of my bad habits in the water and being focused on a lot more now. It's like night and day to feel the catch in the right spot or to focus on the right time to breath. Even if I can jump into the water any day and swim 2.4 miles straight, this doesn't transfer to a faster swim leg or total time in an IM. 

The key with swimming is patience. There will be a time when you have a better feel for the water. If you want to get faster you do not have to swim faster all the time and you do not have to go longer all the time. 

But the mistake for athletes is focusing too much on the yards. I often give yard focused sets for my athletes but there's a specific set for every workout. As a coach, it's hard to recommend drills without seeing an athlete so communication and videos are helpful but also having someone to watch you is imperative. Even for me as a lover of the water, I really enjoy having someone correct my stroke to make me a better triathlete. 

Swim workout 1/13: 

After mini sets of drill focused work (almost all of it was with fins) for a total of 1800, we did the main set: 

4 x 300's - descend 1-4 (last 300 was the fastest).
Within each 300, descend (first 150 a bit slower than the 2nd 150). 
5:30 cycle

Not only did we have enough rest to refocus but this set required a lot of concentration and we put all that technique work to good use. 

My times: 

Not only did I feel so smooth in the water (Karel said the same thing - he was right behind me in the lane) but I am also swimming the paces that I was swimming during my peak Ironman training but with a lot less effort and volume in the water and feeling much smoother and efficient in the water. There will be a time when the volume of my swim-bike-run training increases but for now, I will enjoy focusing on the little things before putting all the pieces together when it counts. 

If you are looking to take your training to the next level, remember that less is more, recovery is just as important as sticking to a balanced training plan and good form during workouts make for a happy body and mind. 

Do you have your eyes set on an upcoming triathlon but are not sure how to get started or take training to the next level?

Are you struggling with endurance in the water, do you want to improve power on the bike, do you want to become a faster runner off the bike or do you struggle with motivation when you train because you are not following a balanced plan to help take your training to the next level?

Trimarni coaching and nutrition has your triathlon training needs in mind with a variety of PRE BUILT PLANS.


Hello from Greenville, SC!

On Thursday, we (Campy, Karel and I) took a quick trip to Greenville South Carolina. We have heard so many great things about this beautiful city and bike-friendly community that we decided it was a great time to go and take a little 6 hour road trip and stay until Sat.

And if you know us - we LOVE traveling!

After our morning workout (treadmill run for me and strength and trainer bike + run for Karel), we packed up for our trip.

Yummy Trail mix! I never travel without it!
Cheerios, raisins, pecans, peanuts, cashews, hazelnuts. 

Sadly, we left our bikes at home due to the high chance of rain during our trip and it was a good thing that we listened to the weather channel. Two full days of rain...but that didn't stop us from enjoying beautiful Greenville!

Grocery store salad - mixed greens in a container topped with hardboiled eggs, nutritional yeast, swiss cheese, cashews and olive oil/balsamic dressing. A simple and delicious Trimarni "fast food" creation for the road from the Grocery Store. 

When we arrived to Greenville we were anxious to stretch our legs and Campy really needed to let the downtown know that "I WAS HERE." 

We stayed with a friend of mine, Trisha, so we waited til she got off work and she gave us a little tour of this cute town. 

While we waited, Campy spotted one of the Mice on Main!

After spending time in downtown Greenville we finally arrived at our "home" for the next 2 days. It was great to enjoy a home cooked meal.
Steamed veggies and salad and tofu on top salsa, topped with jalepeno cheese.
Karel, Trish and her hubby had baked chicken (instead of tofu) and Trisha cubed tofu for me and drizzled with olive oil and tossed with herbs/spices and we put the tofu in tinfoil and then wrapped it up like a baked potato and baked in oven with the chicken for 15 minutes. 

On Friday morning, we woke up around 6am and had a pre workout snack (Trisha knows me well - WASA crackers and natural PB were waiting for me downstairs!) before our swim and strength workout at the YMCA.

After our workout, it was time to enjoy the local eats and what better than at a bakery!

Traditional European breads and say Karel was in heaven is an understatement!! The croissants, apple strudel and Chef baguette were amazing!!! 

We had a busy day so we were out and about and ended up with a stop out at The Point Shopping Center at Zoes Kitchen for a late lunch. 

Greek salad and pita veggie pizza. YUM!!
(I had 1/2 pizza with salad along with an apple that I brought with me and saved the other 1/2 for lunch the next day)

We couldn't wait to get back to downtown and check out the local bike shops (we heard there are over 10 in Greenville!)...especially Pedal Chic -  which caters to women who are empowered through healthy movement.
Pedal Chic is the first women-specific bike shop and athletic boutique in the country, offering an unparalleled selection for the female athlete, cyclist, urban commuter, and yogi, as well as lifestyle/comfort wear in an upscale, boutique environment. The shop is a full-service bicycle shop and athletic boutique.
We are the proud dealer of Bianchi, Jamis, Nirve, and  Linus.

 I bought this cute long sleeve shirt. Now this is the sign that you want to see in the changing room!

Campy made a friend!! 

We were so excited for a dinner in downtown and we picked the perfect place! 

I had the vegan burrito which was packed with flavor! It was so delicious!!!

Well it was one exciting weekend and now we have one tired Camper. 

If you get a chance to visit Greenville, I highly recommend checking out this awesome sure to bring your active wear and hopefully you will have great weather and can bike to Paris Mountain and run on the Swamp Rabbit Trail.
Thanks Greenville for the great memories....until next time........

A few more pics...